So here we go! I’m Lara, Mother, professional fire performer, Traditional Midwife, Traveller.
14 years ago I was blessed with the experience of giving birth to my first son – the brilliant and amazing Blue! Because I have a distrust of big institutions and I am unable to be disrespectfully told what to do and because the party is my favourite place in the world I decided to give birth in my home a mark 2 transit van on a hill in Totnes Devon, whilst my nearest and dearest friends raved to all my favourite tunes on out wicked rig! My theory being that, the walls were thin and I reckoned that I would make a noise so I wanted some music so I wouldn’t worry the neighbours!
Blue was born to the sounds of Madonna singing ray of light! and he is that!
I read only one book – Juliette de Bairicli Levy s ‘Natures Children’ – a wonderful herbal, diary, instruction manual for healthy women who wish to give birth to healthy natural nature children. It was brilliant, filled with positivity and guidance, it totally made me believe that I was naturally able to give birth and that I was capable of doing so, so I did! We ate the placenta for breakfast and I felt rocket powered! My milk came in and we all travelled off to a big celebration party in Cornwall overlooking the sea! All was well full of joy and positivity. Me and Blues dad, Geoff were totally competent, able and ready to be parents and we had had the birth experience that facilitated us to be so, we were in charge and we gave birth! Life is beautiful, birth is beautiful, is what this experience taught us.
Fast forward 3 and a half years and once again I’m giving birth, this time to Jake in a valley in Spain in my beautiful Renault Saviem 7 and a half ton truck! The party was brilliant, I span my fire and was supported by my ginga ninjas and Jake was born to the strains of lo-fidelity all-stars in Ibiza! ‘There’s no reason for you to cry, we’ll always be around…..’ Total joy!
Sometime after my first birth, I ended up supporting a seventeen-year-old giving birth, I was hitch-hiking and went to visit for a cup of tea! Saphora was born into her parent’s joyous arms and we skipped out of the hospital singing! By the time the second baby had settled into feeding and general life I was beginning to be asked to assist other travelling women as they gave birth. I did and there were many joyous births in trucks, caravans, buses, trees, benders, yurts and tipis. There were other women helping too, inspiring wise and wonderful, Vanessa, Sue, Tallulah, all brilliant! We started a group that met once a week to talk about pregnancy birth and all the questions people had. We called it the’ Pregnant Posse’
One day someone introduced me as ‘Lara the midwife’, granted I had been with this woman as she gave birth and had massaged her and made tea, given comforting hugs and words and had held her hand, but midwife! Suddenly I was filled with an urge to learn more! I was convinced that if I was to be seen as a midwife I would have to learn more to be worthy of the title and responsibility and respect it creates.
Vanessa had a programme for a midwife conference in Paris run by a group called ‘Midwifery Today’ – it was filled with loads of knowledge that we all wanted to know and best of all our total hero and guiding light Ina may Gaskin was going to be a speaker!” Oh, I wish I could go and meet her and learn all she wants to teach me” I said!
Fast forward again past making the money and getting there, fire spinning with a purpose had raised the cash for the flights to Germany this time, hotel and conference. I was in a room filled with midwives! I fastidiously took notes to send back to my friends so they too could learn more. I learnt so much! Not least that the way we had been assisting our fellow wild women was the traditional midwife path and was respected all over the world. Someone called me ‘the next Ina May’ when I told my ‘called to midwifery’ story and I knew that I really really had to meet her! Unfortunately, her husband was sick and even though she was supposed to be speaking she was not there. I felt the urge to write a letter to the organizer Jan Tritten, telling her my story so far, and thanking her for the brilliant experience. I wrote because I didn’t feel confident enough to speak! I was so shy, not really believing that I was on equal terms with such amazing women!
The next day Jan gathered me up in her loving arms and told me that she wanted me to come to all of the conferences. I told her I couldn’t afford another thousand pounds! She said that what she meant was that she wanted to become my midwifery mentor, assisting me to attend a total global midwifery education. She asked me to monitor at the conferences, checking badges and moving chairs, getting water and helping out, in return, I would attend the conference for free and she would make sure that the classes I attended would create a fully rounded and grounded traditional midwifery education.
Fast forward another 5 years, I have attended conferences in France, Germany, Norway and Denmark! Learning so much!
I have brought my profession and passion for fire to the conferences and have span fire shows and made many midwives fire-proof! When I was in Christiania in Copenhagen I span a fire show for many international midwives, including some Saami midwives from Finmark. When I finished the show the oldest of these women came to me and took my hand. ” I want to tell you a story. I want to give you a present” she said. I listened.
“In our religion, for a baby to be born first the father God Paderakkaa must think of the child, then he gives the thought to the mother Goddess Madderakkaa, she gives form and body to the child and carries it to the birthing woman in the birthing yurt. Her first daughter Ukksakkaa takes care of the door, her second daughter Jukksaakkaa looks after the floor, and her third daughter Saarrukaa looks after the fire and the birthing woman. YOU are Saarrukaa! ” she said gazing deeply into my ‘ naughty fire fairy’ eyes with her dark wise ones! I felt a chill fire all over me and did my best to be brave! from naughty fairy to goddess in one move! My self-belief worked hard to keep up!
In 2005 I got to see Ina May Gaskin talk about Sphincter Law and juggle with fake poo! She told us a story about ‘The mole who knew it was none of his business’ Telling us that if the world was more comfortable with its ‘pooping’ then we would all be much more able to be comfortable with giving birth! I agreed and decided to write an inspirational childbirth story for children and pregnant people. I called it ‘ The Princess and the Poo’.
The first time I actually met Ina May the first thing she said to me was ” Lovely to meet you Lara, I really love your book!” Can you imagine? That’s what I was going to say to her!
The past 7 years have been a blur of babies and birth knowledge and now I am about to commence on the manifestation of my wish. On Saturday, Jake and I are travelling to America. First we are going to Philidelphia to the Midwifery Today Conference, to learn more and to show the newly published version of ‘The Princess and the Poo’ then we are going on a road trip with Debra Pascale Bonero the woman who created the movie ‘Orgasmic Birth’ to New York then we are travelling down to Tennessee to ‘The Farm ‘ the commune created by Ina may and Steven Gaskin and their amazing friends. Here I hope to learn more about my calling to spiritual, traditional midwifery and more skills to support all the healthy wild women who know that it is their birthright to give birth supported – competently, humanely, joyously.
I have created this blog so that I will be able to share all that I learn with as many people as possible – and also as a log for myself so later on, I can write a clear, concise book detailing all I have learnt to assist the next generation to be born in gentleness joy and Love. May you enjoy reading it as much as I plan to enjoy learning it! Fairy love and kisses, Laraxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx